Current immigration issues polarize votes this election

Karen Lopez
News Staff Writer
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Christopher Bonilla, a sophomore student, said the negative ideas and perspectives presidential candidate Donald Trump has toward immigration and undocumented immigrants further convinces him into voting Democratic.
The Asheville resident said he interacts with many undocumented people, being a Hispanic from El Salvador.
“I personally know many undocumented immigrants and they are not criminals, rapists, dealers or thieves. Trump thinks they are all this and his ideas are wrong,” 19-year-old Bonilla said.
Bonilla said immigrants are here to improve their lives and much of the Republican Party does not recognize how much the U.S needs Latinos.
“Most of the lowest-paid jobs in our country are worked by undocumented immigrants,” said Alpha Cardenas, a sophomore student. “If a law is created to deport many of these immigrants, then who is going to work these jobs?”
Bonilla said many Americans argue undocumented immigrants are taking jobs away. He said many of these jobs are ones Americans would never perform because many do not have the mentality immigrants have.
“They have a different work ethic that does not compare to Americans because they come from other countries where they know what a hard life is and what it means to be poor,” he said.
Bonilla said knowing a lot of people who are being affected or who would potentially be affected by the next president pushed him to vote in this election.
Glen Englram, chairman of the Henderson County Republican Party, said he has been a lifelong Republican because there is a significant difference between the beliefs of Democrats and Republicans.
“I started thinking of politics in terms of what I heard at home. That’s what I grew up with coming from a father that had been a World War II prisoner of war and living in the suburbs of the city,” 65-year-old Englram said.
He said Republicans in general believe in the strength of the individual, government playing role in terms of providing security and stability for the civil society.
Englram said Trump’s idea of building “the wall” between the U.S. and Mexico is symbolic and literal. He believes any subornation needs to control who comes in the country.
“People are pouring into our country, particularly from Mexico and Central America, without constraint,” he said. “Deporting undocumented immigrants out of our country is a step in the right direction.”
Being an American is about obeying the law, said Englram. More laws should be placed to control the population of documented and undocumented immigrants.
“If we don’t change the trajectory, we are going to wake up someday and we are going to have a nation where a large percentage, if not the majority of people here are not American,” he said. “What would that look like?”
Cardenas said the subject of immigration impacted her voting decision in this year’s election.
“The Immigration subject defines much of what I do, because of my family and other immigrants that come to the U.S.,” 19-year-old Cardenas said.
Cardenas is a Hispanic from Guatemala. Her father was deported when she was in the 5th grade and he now works cultivating coffee in his country. The opportunities and jobs he had in the U.S. are not given there.
She said immigrants wish to find a better lifestyle and America has the aspect to offer many opportunities, unlike their native countries.
Cardenas’s hardworking father, family and other hardworking Latinos inspire her to vote for the Latino community.  
“Immigrants are humans regardless of their legal status and should be treated equal,” she said. “I don’t like the two-party system in country, but I feel voting Democratic is the smarter option.”
Lee Luebbe, parliamentarian of the Henderson County Democratic Party, said she is passionate about education, the environment, childcare, immigration, equal rights, women’s rights, etc. Her party stands for these issues and for that reason she votes Democratic.  
“I have been a Democrat all of my life and have never considered switching to Republican,” 80-year-old Luebbe said. “I can’t support many of the issues Republicans stand for.”
Luebbe said the immigration issue is one of her passions and therefore she works with undocumented students, as she gives them resources to continue college education.
She said undocumented immigrants work in areas many citizens would not work, such as construction, hospitality, agriculture and healthcare.
If many people lived in the shoes and in the native country of these immigrants, they would all find ways to escape, she said.
“Deporting many undocumented immigrants out of our country means breaking families,” Luebbe said. “That’s why I’m not with Trump.”